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The New Build Know-How You Need

For many homebuyers, the call of a new build is strong. A new house is clean, up-to-date, and ready for a personal touch — appealing to those looking to simply move in, unpack and enjoy. My experience working for nearly a decade with a local Guelph home builder has taught me a thing or two that I think EVERY new homebuyer should know prior to purchasing a newly built home. As the market becomes more competitive many home builders value and appreciate when we introduce our clients to their communities. Oh and let’s mention right here and now that this isn’t going to COST you a thing! Who doesn’t love free advice and honest representation? If you don’t then you can stop reading. Thoughtfully selecting a Realtor who has the knowledge and experience with new homes but also is up to date on what is being offered in your area will furnish you with the most rewarding experience ever

1) Interior Selections

A new home is like a “blank slate,” no one else has lived in the home before. When you’re buying a new home, you may be able to choose layout and work on the design prior to construction. Other elements such as flooring, countertops, and cupboards are often customizable. Exiting right? You can often and quite honestly should gather pricing for items that you are thinking about adding to the home prior to contract signing so there are no surprises. This is where costs can rise quickly, so it’s very important to make sure you understand what you are getting for the purchase price. Can you preview the selections somewhere? Will you be driving all around town to contractors showrooms or to a different city to do so? Whatever the answer is, there is no right or wrong, you will want to know so you can make the right decision for you and your time

2) Previewing Model Homes

We know your time is precious, so your local expert Realtor can pre-register to ensure you get the most out of your viewing. You and your Realtor will have a greater chance of having one on one time with the sales representative with undivided attention and less pressure if you view at non-peak times such as weekdays

3) Location

As land available for new home construction dwindles in urban centres (yes sad but true), construction of new homes is largely taking place in suburban areas. However many attractions and amenities should develop over time. Or perhaps you are hoping for the opposite? Either way, checking your local city website like www.guelph.ca will provide you with the plans for new parks, transit routes and more. The ongoing construction and all that comes with it — noise, dust, unpaved roads and what may be years before the surrounding neighbourhood is completed with lush trees and greenery could prove to pay off. Putting in the research and having the vision of what the future looks like in that area does often prove to provide an abundance of returns both emotionally and financially

4) Home Lot Selection

Most large communities will be released in phases. Taking the time to view the community map in detail will pay off in selecting the right home for you and considerations such as rear yard views, sun direction, being close to parking lots or if there is more favourable street parking in one phase to the next. Sometimes your timing may dictate the phase and when the expected closing dates will be. Purchasing at the initial release of a community is when prices will be at their lowest, as builders incrementally increase their prices over time but you did not hear that from me! You will deal with ongoing construction, uncertain closing dates and purchasing from a floor plan as often the model home is not built. The bonus for purchasing in the beginning or “pre-construction” phase? You get the best deal. You and your Realtor should get on the VIP list and put the leg work in to be among the first to line up on release day. Be sure to review the plans and lot choices when they are sent to you prior to release, they don’t send them to your inbox just to make you feel important, there truly is value in looking at them ahead of time with your Realtor

5) Deposit (Downpayment

Believe it or not, this requirement can vary astronomically. Anywhere from minimum 5% to upwards of 15% of the base purchase price and then an additional percentage due based on certain build timelines being met. The best way to avoid unexpected costs is to make a schedule of payments. Determine if you are paying cash or borrowing the funds for the deposit. Did you know some preferred lenders offer builder deposit financing? But you won’t know unless you ask and now you can’t say you didn’t know. Your welcome

6) Conditions

Most builders in the Guelph and surrounding area have conditions built into their contracts for you as the homebuyer to fulfil and waive. Other times they have included a condition that is favourable to the builder to satisfy. You may be able to add sale of property condition if you have a home to sell first. Working with the same Realtor that helped you buy your new build, will ensure that the right questions are asked, time the dates accordingly and ensure you properly understand the process.

7) The Contract

If sleeping is an issue for you, look no further than the new build contract, a bit of a snore-fest as it is typically a 40 page plus document. An experienced Realtor can thoroughly review the contract before signing and highlight all the important fine print details you will need to know. Having a real estate lawyer thoroughly review your contract after (or if you can find a way to obtain it beforehand) you have signed is highly recommended, an expert eye in law is never a bad idea

8) Tarion warranty and other closing costs

New builds usually come with warranties that protect against defects, and a builder will sometimes provide an additional warranty on top of that. Sometimes the builder charges for enrolment to the program. Lawyers fees, land transfer tax, survey fees, utility adjustments, HST (will either be included and rebated back to the builder or added as a closing cost) and other closing costs should be estimated and included in your budget. Be sure to have the real estate lawyer include both the review of the initial contract and the closing fees that they charge for your transaction

9) Reputation

Before making a purchase, prospective homebuyers need to do their homework and look into the builder. Your local Realtor or their brokerage may have experience with another client having purchased from the builder you are considering. Research the financial strength and reputation of the builder. Check into their history, their rating with the Better Business Bureau and online. You will also want to look at the number of homes they build each year and their membership with different home builders’ associations. If there are already people moved into the neighbourhood, ask about their experiences when purchasing the home and working with the builder

If your a local Guelph resident or looking to #movetoguelph your fortunate to have an abundant supply of new home builders and locations to choose from. In such a cooperative community such as ours, speaking with the local residents and an expert Realtor who fosters their relations with home builders proves to be a priceless endeavour towards your new home ownership journey. The topics I have chosen to share here are an overview and highlight into the many layers that can exist in new homes.

Questions and Comments welcome